• synonyms


  1. any of several tropical, freshwater fishes of the family Characidae, often kept in aquariums.
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Origin of tetra

1930–35; shortening of New Latin Tetragonopterus former genus name. See tetragon, -o-, -pterous


  1. a combining form meaning “four,” used in the formation of compound words: tetrabranchiate.
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Also especially before a vowel, tetr-.

Origin of tetra-

< Greek, combining form of téttara, neuter of téttares four
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tetra


noun plural -ra or -ras
  1. any of various brightly coloured tropical freshwater fishes of the genus Hemigrammus and related genera: family Characidae (characins)
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Word Origin for tetra

C20: short for New Latin tetragonopterus (former genus name), from tetragon + -o- + -pterous, from Greek pteron wing


before a vowel tetr-

combining form
  1. fourtetrameter
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Word Origin for tetra-

from Greek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tetra


word-forming element meaning "four," from Greek tetra-, combining form of tettares, tessares "four" (see four).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tetra in Medicine


  1. Four:tetradactyl.
  2. Composed of or containing four atoms, molecules, or groups:tetrasaccharide.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.